Thousands of conservation experts from around the world, including environmental scientists from BHP Billiton, are in Sydney for the 2014 World Parks Congress (WPC).
WPC is the preeminent conservation forum and is held every 10 years to share best-practice knowledge in managing protected wilderness areas.
BHP Billiton Senior Manager Environment, Erika Korosi, joined partnership organisations Conservational International, Tasmanian Land Conservancy and The Nature Conservancy to showcase their collaborative approach to conservation projects.
Korosi said she was excited by the opportunity to share knowledge and outcomes from BHP Billiton’s programs at this globally significant event.
“To date BHP Billiton has contributed more than US$ 30 million for two significant conservation projects, The Five Rivers Reserve Project in Australia and the Valdivian Coastal Reserve Project in Chile, with other opportunities being investigated,” she said.
“The World Parks Congress is held only once every decade, so it’s great to be able to provide an update on our progress and findings. I hope our partnership model acts as an example for what can be achieved through effective collaboration between the private sector and environmental organizations,” Korosi added.
During the WPC, Korosi presented to delegates on BHP Billiton’s world-class conservation projects, implemented as part of the Company’s commitment to conserving areas of biodiversity significance globally.
Conservation International Chief Operating Officer, Jennifer Morris, said the innovative global partnership between Conservation International and BHP Billiton had facilitated the conservation and ongoing management of over 60,000 ha.
“BHP Billiton's commitment to protect and finance areas of global significance is truly ground breaking and should be viewed as a model for other companies to follow,” Morris said.
BHP Billiton President Health, Safety and Environment, Mike Henry said he was very proud of BHP Billiton’s innovative approach to environmental management and that it was pleasing to see this being recognised on the world stage.
“In addition to the environmental management actions of our Businesses, BHP Billiton has committed to voluntarily finance the conservation and ongoing management of areas of high biodiversity and ecosystem value,” he said.
“We partner with some of the best organisations in the world to make projects of this standard benefit society, for now and in the future.
“This is above and beyond what we're required to do from an operational perspective. We recognise our broader role in society and the importance of supporting measures to conserve areas of environmental significance.”
The Valdivian Coastal Reserve Project sees the environmental management of 50 000 ha. of one of the world’s last temperate rainforests. It is one of 35 biodiversity hotspots identified by Conservation International.
The Five Rivers Reserve Project sees conservation and ongoing management of 11 000 ha. of land near Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair in the remote central highlands of Tasmania. The Five Rivers Reserve incorporates open grassland valleys, old-growth forests and woodlands, native grasslands, cushion plants, endangered sphagnum moss beds and five natural river systems. It is habitat for endangered wildlife including the Tasmanian devil and Tasmanian edge-tailed eagle and important endemic species, such as the Clarence galaxias fish, not found in any other region on earth. Substantial areas of the land are in and adjacent to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, and a neighbouring landscape-scale protected area is owned and managed by Tasmanian Aboriginal people for its natural and cultural values.
Adapted from press release by Sam Dodson
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